A gentle correction for Our Sunday Visitor about the SSPX and Summorum Pontificum

From the 9 November Our Sunday Visitor with my emphases and comments.

By Msgr. M. Francis Mannion
Schismatic Mass
Father should be concerned about daughter’s involvement with Society of Pius X chapel

Question: My ex-wife attends Mass at a chapel of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), which was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970. Our daughter has been going with her and receives catechism lessons there. As far as I can tell, they don’t teach anything doctrinally suspect. What should I do, for example, if she wants to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at her mother’s chapel rather than at a recognized Catholic parish? Am I being too legalistic about this?

— Name and address withheld

Answer: The liturgical needs of those Catholics who participate in the liturgy of the schismatic Society of St. Pius X [Well…. whatever their status is, the Holy See has backpeddled from calling them schismatic.  I have in the past said they were in schism, and I think there are strong arguments for that.  However, we must be guided by the Holy See and Card. Castrillon who is entrusted with these matters.  Let’s avoid saying "schismatic".] should be assuaged considerably by Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, which further liberalized the use of the Tridentine Mass by Catholic priests. Pope Benedict has expressed the hope that there will exist one parish in each diocese in which the Tridentine Mass will be celebrated — if the need exists.  [A gentle clarification must be offered. The fact of the matter is that there is no limit to the number of parishes that can have celebrations of Holy Mass with the TLM.  Furthermore, they need not be established by the bishop.  Any pastor can implement Summorum Pontificum. As Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei said: "Even if it is not specifically asked for or requested, [priests] should make it available, so that everyone may have access to this treasure of the ancient liturgy of the Church. This is the primordial goal of the Motu Proprio [Summorum Pontificum]: a spiritual and theological richness." Our Sunday Visitor is a good paper and they publish excellent books.  I have collaborated with them on a project.  This is merely a friendly correction. ]

This Mass is (more or less) the same Mass celebrated by the SSPX bishops and priests. Thus there is no reason why Catholics should need to attend the SSPX Masses any more[And if there is widespread and generous implementation of Summorum Pontificum that may be the case.  However: many people want more than Holy Mass.  They want all the older forms of the sacramental life of the Roman Church as well.  We need a full and generous implementation of Summorum Pontificum especially where separated and independent chapels are operating.] One of the main reasons Pope Benedict liberalized the use of the Tridentine Mass was to invite back into the full communion of the Church those who attended the SSPX Masses.

Of course, some Catholics who are affiliated with the SSPX may continue this affiliation because of the fact that the organization rejects some important teachings of the Second Vatican Council.  It is likely that Catholics who attend SSPX Masses have been taught disrespect for the Second Vatican Council and a version of Catholic doctrine that is narrow and sectarian[This is sadly the case.  However, we hope that with the change in the atmosphere, as Msgr. Perl famously said, a change in the climate will follow.  We have to talk about their concerns openly.]

You should certainly be concerned that your daughter attends Mass at a SSPX chapel. While the sacraments of the sponsoring group are valid, nevertheless the fullness of faith is probably not being taught, and she is being educated in a version of the Catholic faith that lacks the richness and broadness of the Second Vatican Council[And Msgr. Mannion is right… with a proviso.  It may be that the people involved have little or no access to a parish where sound doctrine is preached and the liturgical life has gone off the rails.  For the most part people are not longing for division and narrowness.  They want is something on Sundays they don’t have to dread.]

Your best bet is to wait until your daughter is older and then to train her in proper Church discipline, so that she will join a legitimate Catholic parish. [Wouldn’t it be wonderful if their local bishop did confirmations in the older rite each year for the diocese?] You are not being too legalistic about this. The matters involved are weighty.

Msgr. M. Francis Mannion is a priest and theologian of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. Send your questions to Pastoral Answers, Our Sunday Visitor, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750 or to mfmannion@osv.com. Letters must be signed, but anonymity may be requested.


I want to repeat that Our Sunday Visitor is a good paper and they publish excellent books.  I have collaborated with them on a project. 

This is merely a friendly correction offered in good will for the sake of clarity. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. David Osterloh says:

    Please Father Z, did you forward this to the author, I hope you did in a private manner, some experts need a nudge now and then, I am so tired of the dissing of tradition in the Catholic press

  2. Henry says:

    While the sacraments of the sponsoring group are valid, nevertheless the fullness of faith is probably not being taught, and she is being educated in a version of the Catholic faith that lacks the richness and broadness of the Second Vatican Council.

    I wonder whether this might not apply also to a great many ordinary Catholic parishes.

  3. marcel w says:

    “You should certainly be concerned that your daughter attends Mass at a SSPX chapel. While the sacraments of the sponsoring group are valid, nevertheless the fullness of faith is probably not being taught, and she is being educated in a version of the Catholic faith that lacks the richness and broadness of the Second Vatican Council.”

    I do not attend Mass with the SSPX, but rather at the ‘Indult’ (sic). However, this sentence about the richness and broadness of the Second Vatican Council stretches credulity. I think one of the objections SSPX has to this Council is its ‘broadness’. So perhaps Msgr Mannion and Bp. Fellay have more in common than first inspections would indicate.

    I think this piece was overly simplistic, and I suspect the young lady, who is in the unfortunate position of having her parents separated (I do not know the situation and pass no judgment of course), is better off in a traditional parish than some other parishes which brought themselves into disrepute during Mr O’s rise to the Presidency (Fr Pfleger = full communion and SSPX = persona non grata!?)…

  4. David: I don’t think Fr. Mannion “dissed” anyone. I think this was a simple error.

    Not all priests follow every word of the PCED’s President closely. Many very well informed priests, and bishops too, may not be aware that there has been a shift in approach to the question of schism. For many priests Summorum Pontificum is not close to the center of their radar screens. 

    They may read a story about Pope Benedict and his Vicar for Rome being pleased that a personal parish was established in Rome, that they hope that will be an example to other dioceses, and what sticks in their minds as they move to other issues is that there should be “one” parish. 

    I don’t see anything malicious or disrespectful about Summorum Pontificum or tradition in the OSV piece.

  5. Oliver says:

    I held and still hold that same opinion towards SSPX that you did before, but I continue to do it. Not of course that I hold that all that participe regularly to their masses are guilty of schism, but : that bishops are excommunicated, that priests are probably so (because their acts show they adhere to the schism), that the laity can be if they adhere formally and subjectively to the schism, and that, following the words of the recent (1996, 08.24) Declaration of the Council for the interpretation of legislative texts, the lefebvrist movement is to be considered as a schismatic movement. I feel obliged to adhere to that note, that gives a detailed (but not too much, saying that all the details concerning subjective imputation to that or that folk cannot and should not be written) explanation of the conditions of the sin of schism, and of excommunication latae sententiae.

    The point – if I’m not mistaken – is that unofficial declarations of a prelate, even if he is by the way chief of a curial organ concerned by these things, can’t supersede official declarations signed by the chief or even the secretary of a dicastery, pontifical commission or council, acting as such – such declarations have a pontifical authority by permanent delegation, not interviews of prelates.
    So I still hold the view of the note of the pontifical council of 1996, view that is confirmed, for what concerns the excommunication of lefebvrist clerics (in as much as they adhere to the schism, says the text of 2003), by a very recent declaration of the Commission Ecclesia Dei, 01.18.2003. OK, that declaration also says that there isn’t a right to the TLM and that has changed, but until the canonical status of SSPX cleric and faithful hasn’t been officially changed… well, it hasn’t changed !
    With genuine hope of reconciliation,

  6. Memphis Aggie says:

    I am confused about the SSPX status. If their sacraments are valid then they’re Catholic, but the lack of respect and unapproved bishop ordinations would appear to be a schismatic act. Maybe that act is technically insufficient by itself to constitute a formal break or is moderated by reverence for the liturgy, but whatever the case the ambiguity is frustrating. Perhaps charity towards the SSPX and sympathy for their criticisms causes the Vatican to go the extra mile for them. Like in the prodigal son parable the when faithful son does not join the celebration the father comes out to plead with him. Hopefully the effort will bear fruit.

  7. Ken says:

    You are a LOT more charitable, Father, than many of us (myself included) would have been.

    I would be surprised if Father Mannion used the same kind of language for the schismatic orthodox. Can one imagine if he used this tone with respect to the Jews (i.e. there is no reason why Jews should attend temple anymore with a new covenant in place)?

  8. Ken says:

    To clear up any confusion, here is the Vatican’s ruling on attending SSPX Masses (allowed) and even contributing to the collection basket (allowed):


  9. dominic1962 says:

    I wonder the same thing Henry does in regards to regular parishes. I kind of doubt that most of them are really teaching the “richness and broadness” of the Second Vatican Council. The problem with the SSPX is not that they lack insights from VII, but rather that they have intrenched themselves into a position of defense. They exist to disparage “New Rome” and the “New Church” and all the other new things that go with it.

    That being said, what exactly constitutes the “richness and broadness” of the Second Vatican Council that is somehow lacking in “pre-Conciliar” thought?

  10. Ohio Annie says:

    I gave up my subscription to OSV partly because of the dopey columns. I expected better understanding from such a well-known publication.

  11. SM says:

    A thought: In MSgr Mannion’s home state of Utah, there is only 1 EF of the Mass & it is at 2:00 p.m. on Sundays. I am not sure Summorum Pontificum has had much impact in Utah.

  12. David says:

    Msgr. Mannion used to serve as an advisor to the US Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy.

  13. John Norton says:

    Fr. Z,

    Thanks for the clarification and for the gentle manner in which you communicated it. Points well taken.

    Your readers may also be interested in a four-page story on the TLM we published this summer to mark the anniversary of SP. Check out the main articles here:

    Considering the expertise of your readers, I’d be interested in their (and your!) feedback on the articles.

    John Norton, Editor, Our Sunday Visitor

  14. Considering that the only actual ecclesiastical penalty imposed upon four bishops of the SSPX is likely to soon be lifted, I see no reason why any Catholic would be remiss by regularly attending SSPX chapels, even to the exclusion of the diocesan parishes. [You “see no reason”? Then you should look again.] SSPX accepts Vatican II as the XXI valid Ecumenical Council and that is all that is necessary. If SSPX teaches that Vatican II is a worthless and irrelevant Council that allowed very many to do harm to the Church, then so be it. This is an acceptable position concerning Vatican II, and if one wishes to adhere to a parish that inculcates this attitude, that is their right. If you don’t like that position, don’t attend a SSPX chapel. SSPX isn’t an issue; CTA and VOTF are.


  15. Johnny Domer says:

    One thing I’d like to point out is that NOT ALL of the SSPX Sacraments are valid; namely, the Confessions they hear and the Marriages they witness are INVALID because the SSPX lack jurisdiction. No jurisdiction, no Confessions. [Good point.]

  16. Stephen says:

    “nevertheless the fullness of faith is probably not being taught, and she is being educated in a version of the Catholic faith that lacks the richness and broadness of the Second Vatican Council”

    I didn’t know that Vat.II gave to the Church the fullness of the Faith? And since when are there different versions of the Catholic faith? Please Monsignor spare us…

  17. Stephen: I hope you are not intentionally misreading what he wrote.

    He didn’t write that V2 conveys the “fullness of the faith”.  That would be silly, right?  No one would write that.  Nor should you assume that this educated man would write that.

    His point is, for those reading, is that full Catholic teaching must also account for V2.

    Look… you don’t have to like Vatican II, but the Council’s documents are not without their value.

  18. It would ludicrous to assume that neither the marriages nor the confessions of the SSPX are valid. Give me a break. If the Vatican says it is ok to go to their chapels for Mass how on earth could they not have valid confessions and valid marriages? It would put the Vatican in the ridiculous position of saying it’s ok to attend Mass as long as you go to confession at a diocesan church. The first law is the salvation of souls and the Vatican is not going to play hardball on the sacraments.

  19. Carlos Palad says:

    For all of his tireless work for the resacralization of the liturgy — for which we should all be grateful — Msgr. Francis Mannion was not exactly sympathetic to the Extraordinary Form. When he was still at the helm of the Society for Catholic Liturgy the “Philosophy” of that group read as follows (this is from November 2005):


    “The Society for Catholic Liturgy is founded on the following attitudes and convictions, which it seeks to advance in its various activities and deliberations:

    “An affirmation of the decisions and initiatives of the church in the area of liturgy during and since the Second Vatican Council, as well as a commitment to the approved revised rites as the basis for any further development;

    “A conviction of the crucial importance of the twentieth century liturgical movement and of the need for a renewed study and reappropriation of the insights of that movement;

    “A critical attitude regarding any liturgical “restorationism” which rejects or is fundamentally suspicious of the reforms set in place by the Second Vatican Council and which seeks to return to the preconciliar liturgical order;”

    And so on and so forth.

    It is quite telling that, at present, the “Philosophy” of the same society has dropped this language of “critical attitude” towards those who want a return to the “preconciliar liturgical order” and now speaks instead of “respect for Catholic liturgy in all approved rites and usages from the apostolic period to the present day”

  20. Paul says:

    This seems to be a very clear demonstration of the hermeneutic of discontinuity.

    For this priest, it seems the faith which preceded the Second Vatican Council was “narrow and sectarian”. [That is not what he wrote. I wish people would think before posting this sort of thing.] That which we received from the Apostles simply wasn’t good enough – apparently, the deposit of faith was lacking something. The council was needed to save us poor benighted Catholics from our backwards religion – to dissolve those terrible narrow “doctrines” which had burdened us for so long.

    What a sad perspective.

  21. Craigmaddie says:

    Look… you don’t have to like Vatican II, but the Council’s documents are not without their value.

    I fear I sometimes suffer from a kneejerk surliness whenever I hear about the benefits of Vatican II. In your opinion, Father, wherein lies the main value of Vatican II?

  22. Joshua says:

    I agree with Mr. Domer about Marriages and Confessions at the SSPX, and certainly do not support them wholly, yet I often attend their Masses. We should bear in mind that many who go there do so for reasons other than full agreement with them.

    In my case the one place with a reverent Novus Ordo changed, got rid of not only their monthly EF Mass, but their daily NO Masses too. They now only have Mass within their cloistered area. Don´t know if the chapel is closed permanently or what, but this has made it necessary, for instance, to go to the SSPX if I want a Saturday daily Mass, since no other place, EF or OF, has one. For that matter I started to attend daily Mass in general there. There are no sermons, just the Mass, and even the Sunday Masses the sermons have been just Catholic doctrine, not bashing of the conciliar Church (I try to attend a Sunday EF in a regular Church, but there have been times, family obligations, where I could only attend their early Sunday Mass, and not even the NO at my local parish because of time). Obviously, if the SSPX chapel is of the more vitriolic sort that weighs upon the consideration of attending there, since the dangers are greatly increased

    I just say this because, in my experience, most of the people I know attend them with reservations (for instance not Confessing there). So the judgment of the situation becomes a lot more complicated. Whether the girl and the mother attend for legitimate reasons becomes something much harder to judge

  23. Greg: For a marriage to be valid, it must have the proper form. Part of the form of marriage is that it is witnessed by someone who has jurisdiction to witness for the Church. SSPX priests lack this jurisdiction. Thus, the validity of their marriages can be questioned.

    Also, for absolution to be valid, the priest must have faculties to receive sacramental confessions. The Code of Canon Law says that confessions are invalid if the priest lacks faculties. The SSPX priests lack faculties regularly to receive sacramental confessions. They are more than likely invalid.

    But this is a rabbit hole.

  24. ALL: Some of you are clearly not thinking before you are posting.

    You are attributing to Msgr. Mannion all sorts of things he did not write in the piece above.

    THINK before posting.

  25. Craigmaddie: Your question is not really the point of this entry. This is a rabbit hole.

    The real point of the entry is the error about the intent of Summorum Pontificum and the use of the word “schism” for the SSPX.

    This thread will not turn into a referendum on the value of Vatican II, or I will lock it down.

  26. Romulus says:

    What Henry and Dominic1962 said. The hunger for richness is what drives many Catholics from impoverished parishes and into the arms of the SSPX. Though things are improving with every ordination, the bitter truth is that the fullness of faith is by no means reliably accessed by recourse to the average parish in our day.

    Not everyone is called to be a Jeremiah, but the institutional party line that things are going just fine is indefensibly optimistic. If Msgr. Mannion is going to take shots at the SSPX, fairness demands that he acknowledge that “proper Church discipline” is not necessarily to be found in a “legitimate Catholic parish.”

  27. If confessions in a SPX chapel are valid then there is no coonection between the bishop and the faculties he gives his priest to hear confessions.Confessions and marriages in a SPX chapel are neither vaid or licit.Their masses are not licit but are valid.A person may attend mass in such a chapel but that does not mean they can get married or be absolved there.Also their confirmations are invalid. We had people reconciling and were told that had to be confirmed and married. [Ummm…. I don’t think that is right. I know the CDF determined that the older form of confirmation is, in fact valid. I don’t believe that jurisdiction or faculties are needed for confirmation to be valid. I don’t know who told you that SSPX confirmations are invalid, but I believe that is not correct. What you said about marriage and confessions is correct, of course.]

  28. Richard T says:

    Given the attitude of the SSPX to modern Church teaching, he must be right that “the fullness of faith is probably not being taught” in their chapels.

    But for balance, it would be good to have an article giving the same stern warning about many “normal” Catholic parishes. Are the children being taught about the Real Presence? The Sacrifice of the Mass? Respect for life in the womb and in the old people’s home? The devil and the dangers of hell?

    Perhaps Our Sunday Visitor already does this; it would be nice to know.
    We parents who live in and attend such parishes must have an equally pressing duty to train our children in the proper tecahing of the Church – and to educate ourselves so that we are able to do so.

  29. This will be my last posting on this topic and then I will leave it alone.

    Because of the fact that the eternal salvation of souls is at stake in the sacrament of confession, I am sure the Vatican would supply jursidiction. [“supply” and “supplied jurisdiction” are terms tossed around quite often] To not do so would be incredibly unmerciful in light of the fact that it is permissible to attend Mass at their chapels.

  30. Fr. Angel says:

    What Msgr. Mannion wrote was: “It is likely that Catholics who attend SSPX Masses have been taught disrespect for the Second Vatican Council and a version of Catholic doctrine that is narrow and sectarian.” How many members or clergy of the SSPX speak of Vatican II with respect? How many even possess a copy of the documents of Vatican II or utilize their internet service to study the documents online? How many Lefebvrites know that Vatican II quoted from the ancient Fathers more than any other council, or that it quoted from Trent and Aquinas more than Vatican I did?

    Mannion is correct. To teach Catholics to consult the texts of Catholic Tradition without any reference to the interpretations of those texts by Vatican II is to make the Magisterium irrelevant and set up a “sola traditio” sect which loses respect not only for Vatican II but for the Magisterium since Vatican II. This is, as far as I am concerned, a narrow and sectarian approach to Catholic Tradition and does this Tradition injustice as well as keeps people, de facto, separated from communion with the rest of the Church, as if the rest of us outside of the SSPX are a contagion just for respecting Vatican II.

    It is common to hear about how “useless,” “harmful” and “meaningless” Vatican II is for Tradition from those who attend SSPX chapels. Perhaps the anger and bitterness of the post-conciliar mistakes keeps them obsessed with attacking Vatican II as the alleged source instead of looking at human fallibility in the implementation of the Council.

  31. TMG says:

    “Summorum Pontificum” led me to seek the TLM and I found it at a humble SSPX Chapel. What wounds my soul are the arrows slung at what I have found to be good and holy priests of the SSPX, coming from their fellow non-SSPX priests. By association, am I too thus perceived as being less than a good Catholic, because I desire traditional teachings, sacraments, etc.? I think this dismissive and disparaging attitude toward the SSPX is shameful and completely without charity. [Cf. “think before posting”. I don’t think I have read anything “dismissive”: they are being taken very seriously, as a matter of fact. There is nothing disparaging either: very often priests of the SSPX do, in fact, speak badly of Vatican II. It is not “completely without charity” to point out that some of the things they do are wrong. Again, think before posting.]

  32. Michael J says:

    The proper perjorative to use is “Lefebvrists”, not “Lefebvrites” [Do you hear “Lefebvrist”, et al., as perjorative? In the past I haven’t.]

  33. Brian says:

    Though I am not qualified to discuss the issue of whether the SSPX is in schism, given the high number of church-going Catholics who voted for someone who supports legalized infanticide, I am beginning to wonder whether the SSPX may be correct about a “state of emergency.”

    If the SSPX lacks the richness and broadness of the Second Vatican Council, they have maintained the narrow gate and straight paith with regard to a human beings right to life. [I hope they have.]

  34. Stephen says:

    Father Z:

  35. Fr. Angel says:


    The eternal salvation of a soul, in regards to confession, is not at stake unless someone is in “articulis mortis” and ready to die in a few moments. In danger of death, the Church mercifully supplies jurisdiction, even to a defrocked priest.

    Outside of danger of death, the Catholic Church is not being unmerciful or unreasonable for that matter by asking Catholics to seek out a priest with proper faculties and jurisdiction. The Church has every right and authority, according to Trent, to provide for the proper regulation of the sacraments because Our Lord said so.

    While it is “permissable” in the sense of “tolerated” not in the sense of “recommended” to seek out SSPX chapels for Sunday Mass, what is recommended is for a good Catholic to attend and be registered in a parish where the priests possess full communion with the local bishop and through him with the Roman Pontiff.

    Then, you will not have to pick apart canons, engage in lawyering about validity or liceity, or worry about the salvation of your soul. The issue becomes complicated only when a Catholic decides to seek ministrations from a priest who does not have faculties from the local bishop but decides on a guessing game of supplied jurisdiction.

    Let’s not call the Church unmerciful and cast aspersions for the problems and complications which are of our invention, not hers.

  36. Chris says:

    Johnny: “One thing I’d like to point out is that NOT ALL of the SSPX Sacraments are valid; namely, the Confessions they hear and the Marriages they witness are INVALID because the SSPX lack jurisdiction. No jurisdiction, no Confessions.”

    That is not as black and white and you claim it is.

    Many trusted theolgians [trusted by … ?] believe that the 1983 Code grants supplied jurisdiction in emergencies. And who could really argue this isn’t an emergency?

    I’d pause before making a blatant claim that anything at all that happens at an SSPX chapel is invalid.

  37. czemike@gmail.com says:

    To all who are saying that, with the SSPX, neither marriages nor confessions are valid, please explain how supplied jurisdiction doesn’t apply. The SSPX has made it pretty clear that they think they have supplied jurisdiction, citing the relevant passages of Canon Law to make that point.

    Fr. Z: at the risk of you delivering on your threat to lock down this thread, I’m going to re-ask Craigmaddie’s question: [And thus kill this entry.] What is the “main value” of Vatican II? The reforms that were carried out in the name of the council aren’t the council (to say nothing about whether the reforms, as they were carried out, were really what the council authorized or if they were good).

    Maybe this thread isn’t the right place to answer that question, but you opened the door to Craigmaddie’s question when you positively affirmed that the Council’s documents have value. What value, and where is it? I personally think Vatican II was devoid of value but I am open arguments to the contrary.

  38. Fr. Angel says:

    TMG: Desiring traditional Catholic teaching and sacraments is your right and is legitimate, within the communion of the college of bishops united to the Pope. Having these conferred by clergy without canonical mandate to do so is irregular and damaging to the unity of the Church–and a Catholic layperson or priest who points this out is not disparaging or slinging arrows, but speaking the Catholic truth, which they also have a right to do.

    Michael J: If someone adheres to the late Archbishop’s beliefs about Vatican II teachings being a departure from Catholic doctrine, the Novus Ordo being deficient although valid, and the invoking of supplied jurisdiction for clergy apart from canonical process and obedience, I do not see why it would be a “perjorative” (sic) term to be seen as a “Lefebvrist.” On the contrary, would not the Archbishop’s admirers regard it as a compliment? I meant the term as descriptive. For example, I believe that Thomas Aquinas teaches the true and perennial philosophy and have no problem being called a “Thomist.”

  39. Maureen says:

    How can you possibly have an emergency marriage?

    What, the SSPX only marries people in emergency rooms who are dying in five minutes?

    Sigh. If you want to do something iffy with the SSPX and trust in God’s mercy, fine. That’s your soul. But if you want to tell other people that something iffy is something as solid as concrete, that’s playing with other people’s salvation.

  40. Fr. Angel says:

    Czemike: The 1983 Code, like the 1917 Code, made it clear that the lawgiver, in this case, the Pope, can alone give the final say on canonical interpretation. Like the previous Code of 1917, the 1983 says the Pope always has the final say “prima sedes a nemo judicatur” or “the First See is judged by no one.”

    So, in the case of a confusion in the Church, a state of emergency, which would require bishops and clergy of the SSPX to bypass the proper canonical procedure of obedience to the Bishop, the case is solved very simply by the Pope declaring that in such and such a part of the Church, there is a state of emergency and therefore in those parts the local Bishop will be bypassed.

    Not only did Pope John Paul II not do that, but specifically stated that Lefebvre and his auxiliaries were excommunicated. No canonist can lawyer this away, because once the Pope says that is how to look at this case, that is it, end of discussion. Now, you just follow the dots and connect them. The excommunicated bishop, when he ordains priests, ordains them automatically in the state of suspension for receiving Holy Orders from an excommunicated bishop. The clergy who are in excommunication and suspension by a declared sentence of the Roman Pontiff cannot have a supplied jurisdiction because the Pope granted a final verdict that instead of a state of emergency there is a state of disobedience requiring penalties that bar the clergy from conferring sacraments. Now, I know that the SSPX have quoted many educated men to argue that there is still a state of emergency, but when the Roman Pontiff “checkmates” you, the game is over.

  41. “To clear up any confusion, here is the Vatican’s ruling on attending SSPX Masses (allowed) and even contributing to the collection basket (allowed):”

    You mean this?

    2.) Concretely this means that the Masses offered by these priests are valid, but illicit i.e., contrary to the law of the Church.

    His second question was “Is it a sin for me to attend a Pius X Mass” and we responded stating:

    “2. We have already told you that we cannot recommend your attendance at such a Mass and have explained the reason why. If your primary reason for attending were to manifest your desire to separate yourself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him, it would be a sin. If your intention is simply to participate in a Mass according to the 1962 Missal for the sake of devotion, this would not be a sin.”

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  42. Fr Angel,

    Fine, maybe not unmerciful but certainly illogical. If the Church wants to be consistent, then completely forbid all SSPX sacraments. Otherwise, the Vatican knows that a significant number of faithful attend Mass at SSPX chapels week in and week out. It is logical to assume that those same people go to confession at the chapels. So why permit the one and forbid the latter? Especially considering a good number of people who attend these Masses have no idea of what jurisdiction and how it applies. Since this is the case, it would be incumbent upon the Vatican to declare that the confessions are invalid.

  43. Chris says:

    Maureen: How can you possibly have an emergency marriage?

    Um, we’re not talking about shotgun weddings. The emergency refers to the crisis in the church.

    If a Catholic cannot in good conscious go to the new mass, then he needs somewhere to go to see the true Mass, get the traditional sacraments, etc. And if there’s no diocian-approved Traditional Latin Mass in the area, then it’s an emergency.

    Therefore, because of that emergency, the priests of the SSPX get jurisdiction provided from Our Lord to marry them, absolve them of sins, etc.

  44. Mary Jane says:

    I appreciate Fr. Z’s clarification of this item by Msgr. Mannion because I was uncomfortable when I read it is OSV. I hope that there is some clarification in the paper as well.

  45. TMG says:

    Fr. Angel,
    I honor and respect all Roman Catholic priests. Since the excommunication issue appears to be paramount to you, will you join in the current Rosary crusade to lift the excommunications of the bishops of the SSPX? That would be a truly charitable act. [WELL SAID! That is a worthy cause.]

  46. Fr. Angel says:

    Chris: The issue of supplied jurisdiction has already been fought over numerous times. I want to draw attention to one, glaring point of your post, however. That is that this “state of emergency” which somehow allows a priest with no faculties to hear confessions and witness marriages is not something declared by the Pope or the local Bishop. This state is said to exist not because the Pope said so, but because I say so, in my mind, in the way I see things. That was the thinking of Protestantism, to place judgment of the Church in the mind and subjective thinking of the believer, not the pronouncements of Rome.

    The SSPX website actually refers to the “common error rationale” meaning that the sincere confusion of their faithful gives the SSPX a supplied jurisdiction. But how can there be confusion when the Pope excommunicated the bishops? Also, the fact is that “state of emergency” jurisdiction usually refers to dying, which means Maureen was right to ask “are these folks getting married at the emergency room?”

    The jurisdiction granted for the dying is granted by the Church, not Our Lord Himself, who gives the grace of the sacraments but has left to His Bride the Church the authority for regulating the sacraments.

  47. ALL: This has gotten out of hand. Another thread killed.

Comments are closed.